Tim and I strategized and strategized trying to think of the easiest way to transition her away from the pacifier. I sleep trained Adeline around six months of age and ever since then she's been a fantastic sleeper. I didn't want to ruin this by taking away her sleep aid! So, we needed to make this work right the first time! We finally decided to get her a "big girl bed" in hopes that she'd be so excited about it that she'd be willing to give up the pacifier in exchange.
We wanted her to be a part of the process, so we let her choose which bed set she wanted for her new bed. I pulled up several options from Amazon and she chose an Ariel set. I did this with her a couple times and she chose Ariel on both occasions so I went ahead and ordered the set below and a little toddler bed.
We hyped up the "big girl bed" and "covers" (as she calls them) all week, expressing our excitement and explaining that the binky would have to go "bye-bye" when her new bed arrived. Whenever we spoke about the new bed she would say, "Binky go night-night" so I knew she understood what was about to happen. The night the bed arrived, sheer jubilation shook our house! We went so overboard in our excitement, but we wanted her to understand what a big deal this was and involved her in every step, starting with putting the bed together. Nothing's safer than letting your naked toddler operate a screwdriver, ha. She was very proud to be helping!
After the bed was built and her bed set was washed, we moved it to her room while Tim took down the crib. Adeline kept exclaiming, "Oh my gosh!" and jumping on the bed while singing "Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed."
We then reminded her about the binky situation. Earlier that evening we decided that we needed to give her a good reason to give up her binky--she's too smart for us to just take it away without a reason she could comprehend. And an explanation about her dental health wouldn't quite cut it. So, we decided to tell her that Santa was coming to take the pacifiers to other babies that needed them, now that she was a big girl. She saw Santa at Christmas and was infatuated by him; again we tried to make this exciting for her. We took her out to the mailbox and she placed her pacifiers inside without any hesitation. Success!
Then, we went back into her room and went through the usual bedtime routine: brush teeth, read books, pray, and sing songs. Before we turned out the lights she asked for her binky and we reminded her that they were in the mailbox waiting for Santa. We didn't add a nightlight to her room because I didn't want her to be able to see, thinking she would get out of bed and play. When we closed the door she ran to the door for a couple seconds calling out for us and then quickly returned to her bed. (We still use a monitor and watched her to make sure she stayed in bed.) She whimpered for her pacifier for about 30 minutes, then fell asleep and stayed in her bed all night. Hallelujah! Our plan worked!
When Addie woke up in the morning we praised her over and over again for staying in her bed all night and I took her out for donuts to celebrate. When we returned, we checked the mailbox and Adeline found a note from Santa thanking her for giving her pacifiers to other babies who need them.
We kept expressing our happiness that she stayed in her bed all day, in hopes that she would be just as inclined to stay in bed during her nap time, despite her room being bright enough to allow her to see (and play). Thank goodness, she cooperated again! She ran to the door, called out for me, and then headed right back to her bed and fell asleep. What an awesome kid =).We never even had to tell her to stay in bed or discipline her for not doing so, which I feared would happen. Her early sleep training crossed over and made this another successful transition--something she's going to have to get used to in this military lifestyle!